Reflecting on Exodus 3: 1-8a, 13-15
My nephew, raised in a Catholic home and surrounded by practicing Catholic family and friends, loved his twelve years of Catholic schools. After high school he went to the state university with several of his childhood friends. I visited him on campus for his April birthday, and, while touring the grounds, asked, “Where is the Catholic Church on campus?”
I could have been speaking Swahili. After eight months on campus, spent in the company of his Catholic friends, it hadn’t occurred to one of them to inquire about a parish where they could stay connected with the faith that had been so carefully and lovingly nourished in them.
There were many bushes burning all around them―fascinating classes that could have ignited their intellects and longing to seek the Master Designer, and kids their age of all different religious backgrounds who could have stimulated great conversations about faith. Surely there were SOME interesting people on campus―Christians, Muslims, Jews, Mormons who could have caused them to draw near and say, “What is your background? Is faith in God part of what makes you so compelling? Tell me more.”
But no one fascinated them enough to come closer, to investigate, to take off their shoes and stand humbly before the Mystery. That’s what makes holy ground―when the Divine Spark finally connects with our own longing, and we can’t stop ourselves from drawing near. It was the cultural imperative of college life that they simply walk away from all religious impulses.
I think about that bush in the desert, utterly consumed with God. I suspect that it had been burning from the beginning of time, waiting for someone to catch its light and be ineluctably drawn towards it.
The world is charged with the grandeur of God, wrote Gerard Manley Hopkins. Ah, yes. But grace upon grace is still burning in the desert, waiting for us to be chilly enough, lonely enough, “not enough” enough, to take off our shoes and listen.
Where are the places of holy ground―of engagement with God―for you?
Kathy McGovern ©2016